Fiberglass SUP VS Inflatable SUP Comparison Guide


There are many reasons why you should try paddleboarding. Every standup paddleboarder has however pondered as to which of the different paddleboard varieties is best.

Often the debate is between fiberglass sup vs inflatable sup.

We get it! it’s completely understandable to get confused between the two especially when you consider that each has its share of pros and cons.

Let’s take a closer look at the two types of standup paddleboards to determine which one is ideal for you.

There are several factors that you need to consider when making a choice. Without further ado!

How portable is your stand-up paddleboard?

Inflatable paddleboards are the most portable variety. All you need to do is deflate the SUP, roll it up, and put it into a backpack. And the great thing is that you can even fly with your SUP to further destinations.

Transporting fiberglass paddleboards is not as easy. They have a delicate design so care needs to be taken when carrying the SUP on the car rack. They are also heavier than the inflatable SUPs.

If you wanted to take a flight with your fiberglass SUP, you would have to pay clearance fees at the airport.

However inflatable paddleboards take some time to inflate and deflate. If you prefer simply arriving at your destination and getting on the water as soon as possible, the fiberglass paddleboard is your best bet. It is always helpful to know exactly how to transport your standup paddleboard.

How easy is it to store your stand-up paddleboard?

Another important consideration to make is how much storage space you have. If you live in the suburbs where you have your garage, then a fiberglass paddleboard will have plenty of space.

You will need to ensure that the place you are storing your SUP is safe and that your paddleboard isn’t gonged to fall or crack. If the place where you will be keeping your standup paddleboard is elevated, then falling from a height could dent the surface.

While scratches are nothing to concern yourself with, it’s important to ensure that the board is safe from falls that could break the surface. This could provide a way for the water to get inside the paddleboard and cause the whole structure to warp. It is one of the reasons why you should know how to store your standup paddleboard.

Also, you will need to consider whether it’s off-season or high season for paddleboarding. During the off-season, you will probably use your paddleboard less which means it’s okay to store it in a place where it doesn’t get in your way.

During peak season, however, you will need to access your SUP more times which means it needs to be stored in a place where you can easily get to it. Consider getting a sleeve. This should keep the board protected from most external damages, dents, dings, and scratches.

However, if you live in an apartment without much storage space, then the inflatable SUP is the better choice. It can be deflated and stored almost anywhere.

The durability of the SUP


Between SUP vs ISUP, Inflatable paddle boards are without a doubt the more durable. You don’t have to worry about them breaking if they fall.

However, with fiberglass paddleboards, a drop could damage the integrity of its construction causing dents or cracks that will need immediate repair.

That said since the fiberglass or hard-shell paddleboards are made of multiple layers of materials which will include epoxy, foam, and fiberglass, they tend to have a thicker build than inflatable SUPs. This means that they are more stable and rigid and can thus support more weight from a larger sized individual including some paddleboard fishing accessories if that is you plan on doing some fishing.

Inflatable stand-up paddleboards can take a lot of punishment from debris and rocks, they are the better choice for white-water Stand-up paddleboarding. This is more than can be said for the fiberglass paddleboard.

Speed and performance

When deciding between fiberglass and inflatable paddleboards, your ideal choice will depend on the type of watersport activity that you plan to partake in. To make the best choice you will need to know how to paddle a standup paddleboard.

For example, if you want a SUP for surfing or paddleboards for racing, fiberglass paddleboards are more agile, faster in the water, and more maneuverable.

You might also be interested in: 

Plastic VS Fiberglass Paddleboard

Types of Paddle Sports

Inflatable Paddleboards may be slower, but the difference might be minimal depending on how much air you put in your standup paddleboard. Learning how to inflate your ISUP with your paddleboard pump is therefore essential. There have been great advancements in inflatable SUP technology and design. However, they are yet to offer performance that rivals that of fiberglass SUPs.

When you glide across the water, you may notice that the fiberglass SUP offers a much smoother ride compared to an inflatable SUP. On the other hand, since the inflatable SUP is filled with air, it is much more comfortable to paddle for a long time.

The rigidity of the fiberglass SUP is much better than with the inflatable SUP. This makes it more stable on the water.

If you plan on surfing, then you can notice the drag and the slower change in direction of the inflatable SUP if you have previous experience with the fiberglass SUP.

Price of SUP

Inflatables are much more affordable than fiberglass paddleboards. While you might get a quality inflatable SUP for a few hundred bucks, fiberglass paddleboards can cost in the thousands of dollars.

If you are on a budget then between SUP vs ISUP, the inflatable paddle boards are your best choice.

Making repairs

No matter how careful and thorough you are when storing your stand up paddleboards, even if you have good paddle board wall racks installed, dents and dings will happen at some point. While these and minor scratches may not damage the integrity of the SUP, more severe dents and dings might.

It’s therefore important to know how to make your repairs on both SUP vs ISUP. Even better, it’s important to remain in close association with your local SUP store in case you need any assistance to repair your SUP.

Globo Surf Overview

As much as there are similarities between the different types of SUPs, there are also some major differences that need to be considered when making a purchase. Between fiberglass SUPs vs inflatable SUPs, the right one for you will depend on your individual preference and circumstances.

More Paddling paddle Board Guides:

Paddling Paddle boards Reviews: